Gary Bettman blames threat of lawsuit for lack of Coyotes sale, admits time is running out

1 Comment

If you were hoping that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s press conference would provide new information or a resolution regarding the Phoenix Coyotes sale tonight, you’re about as lucky as the City of Glendale. Still, the league’s biggest power broker did discuss the situation, taking a predictable direction by blaming the Goldwater Institute for holding up the deal and wiggling around a true deadline for a final verdict. (Dave Strader provides a decent summary of Bettman’s statements in this Tweet.)

Bettman acknowledged the possibility of relocation to Winnipeg/other “options” but while he said that time is running out, it’s clear that the league hasn’t given up completely yet. At least from a public standpoint.

Ultimately, we’re left with some morsels of information (or at least illumination) that will be covered in a moment, but it’s important to note that the Coyotes franchise along with the cities of Winnipeg and Glendale will need to wait for an answer. Bettman apparently met with Glendale’s mayor along with Coyotes players, coaches and front office members today, but it appears nothing decisive took place.

Perhaps the most useful bits of information relate to the fact that the purchase price hasn’t changed and any alterations would apparently be up to Matt Hulsizer and the City of Glendale. Bettman said that the team’s next owner will likely handle additional losses from the 2010-11 season. (According to Sarah McLellan’s accounts of the press conference.)

So there’s really nothing new to discuss here, other than the fact that the rumors are obviously given that much more credence since Bettman confirmed the big problems and admitted that relocation is a possibility.

It’s tough to refute the sentiment that the situation looks a little dire for the Coyotes’ future in Arizona, but it’s too early to say what will actually happen. The NHL has given the franchise every chance to remain in the Phoenix area, but it might not be in the cards.

Either way, we’ll keep you updated and provide video footage of the press conference if we get the chance.

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

Leave a comment

Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.

Blackhawks bolster Central lead, shine harsh light on Penguins’ struggles

Leave a comment

Blame it on injuries if you want, or emphasize the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall hot finish to the season. Either way, Chicago scorched the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1, a contest that felt more or less over by the time the first period ended 4-0 in the Blackhawks’ favor.

The Blackhawks scored by committee on Wednesday, with Artemi Panarin (goal, assist) and Patrick Kane (two assists) being the headliners. Meanwhile, former Penguin Marian Hossa has quietly climbed to 25 goals on the season.

Meanwhile, the Penguins limped through this one and have now lost four consecutive games.

With this result, the Blackhawks look like close to a lock to win the Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Metro crown is virtually unthinkable for Pittsburgh, and the Penguins might also need to accept the likelihood that they may not enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round.

They’d probably accept that more easily if they can get healthier and get back on track. Wednesday was a little worrisome in those regards.

Video: An early taste of the Tkachuk-inspired violence in Kings vs. Flames

6 Comments

BREAKING: the Los Angeles Kings really don’t appreciate Calgary Flames rookie-pest-forward Matthew Tkachuk thanks to that elbow on Drew Doughty (and the fallout from all … that).

Tkachuk responded by critiquing Doughty for “complaining to the media,” so there was testiness from the start.

There was jawing before the game. Then Jake Muzzin rebuked Tkachuk’s kind offer for a fight. Finally, Keith’s son dropped the gloves with Brayden McNabb:

It wasn’t the only bout of the opening frame, and there could be more blood to come beyond this Jarome IginlaDeryk Engelland feud:

Players from both teams better keep their heads up (and on a swivel) tonight. The Flames have to hope that this doesn’t result in injuries, judging from what happened to Johnny Gaudreau.

Avalanche sign Toews-like first-rounder Tyson Jost

Leave a comment

Things have been pretty bleak for the Colorado Avalanche this season, but at least they can look to a high pick in the next draft … and maybe dream about how their top pick from 2016 may pan out.

The Avs signed Tyson Jost, the 10th pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, to an entry-level contract on Wednesday. Colorado notes that he’ll jump right into some NHL action to close out this season.

It’s a nice sneak preview, as NHL insider Bob McKenzie noted on an NBCSN appearance (see above) that doing so will not burn the first year of Jost’s entry-level contract. Nice.

Even nicer? McKenzie also compares Jost favorably to … (drum-roll, though the headline spoiled it) Jonathan Toews.

Most obviously, the two both starred at the University of North Dakota. For the sake of fun, here are their numbers in their final years in the NCAA:

Jost: 16 goals, 35 points in 33 games, +17 rating (2016-17)
Toews: 18 goals, 46 points in 34 games (2006-07)

Naturally, Toews enthusiasts in particular will tell you that points aren’t everything … but maybe there are some shades of the two-way Blackhawks center there?

The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy raved that Jost has “man-strength already” back around the 2016 NHL Draft, as you can see in this profile.

“Jost oozes confidence and already looks like NHL captain material for the future.”

Hey, that does sound at least somewhat Toews-like, doesn’t it?

***

In other signing news, the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington reports that the Buffalo Sabres signed UMass-Lowell’s CJ Smith. More on that below.